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LP: McCoy Tyner - Sahara

Artist: McCoy Tyner
Label: Milestone Records
Release: 1972

Review: What starts out as a wanky sounding jazz record from the 1970’s quickly evolves and reflects on itself, turning into a complex and beautiful album. The first track, Ebony Queen, stops treating itself as an action movie soundtrack about midway and finds a groove that carries it to the end. “A Prayer For My Family” is a deeply felt solo track that displays Tyner’s unique sound that even the greenest of jazz fans will be able to tell apart from other pianists of the day while “Valley of Life” features his ability on the koto, a Japanese stringed instrument that resembles a miniature lapsteel. Hearing the musicians mastery of an instrument he is not known for will further your appreciation of this great who seems to get lost in the mentions of Monk and Miles. The last track on the A-Side, “Rebirth” features all four of the players on the album creating a wall of carefully improvised sound that squeezes the intensity of Coltrane’s Meditations album into just over five minutes. When the record is flipped over, so is the music as the twenty-three minute long “Sahara” features each musician on an instrument they do not normally play. Throughout the song, saxophonist Sonny Fortune ties the textured, discordant melodies together with his improvised mastery of the flute. This album is a must-have for any free-jazz enthusiast. If not for the frenetic pace, then for the collaborative and incestuous musical practices among the musicians.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

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